God is Faithful – God is Good!

Posted: January 2, 2015 in Pastor Posts

Can you believe it? We are now in 2015. We finally made it to the year in the future that Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future Part II. I am a little disappointed that I don’t yet own a hover-board. Yet, I have to say that I am excited for what 2015 has in store! Yes, there are many unknowns and potential fears as we start a new year. However, I am excited because I know two things: God is faithful, and God is Good! He proves Himself to be faithful and good year after year. As we begin 2015, let’s remember how He has been faithful and good to Grace Church in 2014. Here are the video testimonies of God’s faithfulness and goodness from 2014:












Joshua 10:1-6, As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors. So Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, “Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.”Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered their forces and went up with all their armies and encamped against Gibeon and made war against it.

And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not relax your hand from your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.”

Background Information in Joshua 10:

God’s people, saved out of Egypt, are finally able to enter the land God had promised generations before to Abraham-the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Yet, it was a land that was occupied by evil and dangerous people. And what we see is that God is with His people. Jericho falls, then Ai falls, then the Gibeonites, who were a powerful people with a powerful city, make a treaty with Israel. The conquest of the southern part of Canaan was well underway and was threatening Adoni-Zedek…the King of Jerusalem!

So the king of Jerusalem does what any good king does when feeling threatened and like his back is up against the wall…he recruits 4 other city-states of his own to destroy Joshua’s new allies.

With an attack immanent, Gibeon decides to test their newly inked treaty! And so they call on Joshua and the Israelites to come help defend the Gibeonites against this 5 army alliance! Now here is where it is easy to read this incredibly brief account in Scripture and miss how incredibly epic and massive the battle is. Two armies are facing 5 armies. When you go see the Battle of the 5 Armies in a couple weeks, pay attention to how large and intimidating 5 armies looks…then add two more armies! Then you will understand the scale of what we are talking about here!

In the film The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, there is a statement made by the protagonist – Bilbo Baggins. He says, “when faced with death, what can anyone do?” That is a great question. It is a question that Joshua had to answer as he marches his people into battle! Joshua was faced with death. He was faced with an unthinkable situation.

Many of us today have faced or are facing an unthinkable situation. If you have not yet faced an unthinkable situation, I have some very bad news. You will at some point in your life. It is the human condition. We are destined to face tragedy because we live in a fallen and wicked world! So we must ask a key question: When faced with the unthinkable, what should we do? The answer? We must remember the promises of God!

That may seem incredibly simplistic. How do the promises of God help us when we are facing insurmountable obstacles and unthinkable situations? In this amazing story we will see three ways that remembering God’s promise can help us when facing the unthinkable.

  1. God’s Promises should Give us Confidence.
  2. God’s Promises should Motivate Action.
  3. God’s Promises should Result in Prayer.

We will unpack each of these points in the next three blog posts.

Written by Pastor Dave Bertolini

I don’t know about you, but I am excited and somewhat saddened this December as we approach the release of the Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies! I am excited because I, like many of you, have waited a long time to be able to see the Hobbit story in film. And here it is! Yet, I am saddened because this film marks what will be the last feature film in the Lord of the Rings universe – at least for a long, long time!I have always loved the Lord of the Rings books. And I was wowed and amazed by the original trilogy. The LORT trilogy so perfectly captured the epic scope, the grand themes, the intense emotions of what is one of the most loved trilogies in print. And yet, there was so much in the trilogy of books that was missing in the trilogy of films! How could any film capture all that J.R.R. Tolkin had written? It would be impossible…or so we thought.

With the almost complete Hobbit trilogy, it is the opposite. The LOTR trilogy took three lengthy books and turned them into three lengthy films, while cutting out much of the story along the way. The Hobbit Trilogy takes a single book and turns it into three rather lengthy films! In doing so, the filmmakers, helmed by LOTR veteran Peter Jackson, fill in a lot of the plot gaps left in the book of the Hobbit. Reports claim that this new information can be found in other writings by J.R.R. Tolkin but was never in the book of the Hobbit! While reading the Hobbit novel, it must be understood that there is much that is never revealed! For instance, where does Gandalf go when the Dwarf troop enters Mirkwood? In the book we aren’t told. It isn’t until the introduction to the Fellowship of the Ring that we get an answer. An account that never made it into the film baring the same name. Yet, in the Hobbit film, we see that, in fact, Galdalf is waging a war of his own against the rise of the feared Necromancer, who is revealed to be none other than the great evil nemesis Sauron!

As happens with all changes, there are many who are less than thrilled by the addition of the new material. Yet, there are also many who like me, are loving the expanded story! I love knowing more about what was going on behind the scenes that wasn’t written about in the Hobbit novel. I love seeing the battle scenes fully developed on the scale of the other Lord of the Rings stories. The films have made a fun and interesting book seem larger, darker, and far more epic.

And here we come down to an important point. What was written in the book of the Hobbit is what we needed to know. Namely, how Bilbo Baggins found the ring, how evil began to return to Middle Earth, etc. While the Hobbit novel covered what we needed to know, the cinematic Hobbit trilogy is showing that there is much more we could know!

Why do I bring this up? What does this have to do with the Bible? A lot actually!

First, we must understand that God’s Word has revealed everything we need to know, but not everything that we could know. It is everything we need to know…it is the complete written revelation of God! Nothing we needed to know was left out. If God wanted us to know more, He would have written it! But, it is certainly not everything we could know! And that is ok!

Secondly, the Bible is far more Epic than we can possibly imagine! There are the most heart-rending romances, the worst of enemies, the most heroic of heroes, and some of the most epic battles known to human history! We often watch movies like Lord of the Rings and get all fired up about the massive scope of the battles! We often overlook the massive scope of the stories of Scripture. One of these epic stories, and really one of the most underrated stories, is the story from Joshua chapter 10. We will be unpacking the message of this amazing story over the next few posts.

However, I will leave you with this thought. Quit wishing for and/or searching for new information to add to the pages of Scripture. Instead, learn and apply what is already there! It is everything you need to know to live the life God has called you to live!

Written by Pastor Dave Bertolini

I am a pastor who struggles with doubt (Insert GASP here)…But doubt has lead to a lot of personal and spiritual growth in my life and also understanding on how to help others who struggle with doubt. It’s important that we realize that doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt is not the same as unbelief. The church needs to be place where we can be open and honest about our doubts. The Scriptures are full of people who struggled with doubt, often the “heroes” of the faith (Genesis 12, Job 14:19-20, Psalm 13:1-6, John 20:24-28, Mark 9:24, Matthew 11:1-15, etc.), but also reveals a God who can handle His peoples doubts and offers comfort and peace to those who earnestly seek Him.

Here is one of the best sermons I’ve heard on the topic by Dr. Bobby Conway. Check it out if you have ever struggled with doubt: 

I also recommend “The Thomas Factor” by Dr. Gary Habermas which can be read for free here: http://www.garyhabermas.com/books/thomas_factor/thomas_factor.htm

Lastly, here is a great article by Dr. Mike Licona on dealing with doubt as a Christian: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/dealing-with-doubt1

If these three men, who have doctorates and are some of the leading Christian apologists and scholars in the world, can admit their struggles with doubt then hopefully we can to. But, thankfully they not only admit their struggles but also offer advice and wisdom on how God has helped them overcome their doubts.

I hope these things are as helpful to you as they were to me!

Written by Pastor Ben

Video  —  Posted: June 11, 2014 in Pastor Posts

I hate to rain on your parade, but….

If you are a Christian, I have bad news for you , sin isn’t fun anymore. Oh in the moment sin produces a temporary sense of pleasure. But for the Christian, the Holy Spirit that dwells in each of us reminds us that we are no longer slaves to sin and that sins robs us of our joy in the Lord.

I read recently that joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness.

When we receive Christ we are given a new joy that is beyond description. Our sins are forgiven, our past is wiped clean and we are a new creation.(2 Cor 5:17) We become a child of God. As we pursue the Christian walk, We all struggle with sin in our lives. We either reject it outright, we find ways to justify our actions or we yield to the Holy Spirit and repent and ask forgiveness.

As a Christian, sin takes on a new meaning. As a non-believer, sin is simply the gratification of the flesh. It is what I want in the moment and it will bring me the emotional or physical pleasure that I am seeking. But as a Christian, the Holy Spirit reminds us that it was sin that separated us from our relationship with God. He reminds us that sin is the reason that Jesus hung on the cross. That sin leads to death. Bottom line, sin is a bad, bad thing.

We were created to be in communion with God. Sin destroyed that communion. Thankfully, God so badly wanted to restore that relationship, that he was willing to have his Son die so that we can be his children again.

For the Christian, sin can’t be fun anymore. In the moment, sure there will be short lived sense of “me, mine, I”, but very quickly you will be robbed of true joy that comes only from our relationship with

Jesus. We have so much more as Christians. We have the inner peace of knowing that we are forgiven. We are loved unconditionally. We have the blessed hope of eternal life in communion with the Creator of the universe. We are children of God.

So I say, Party On…………through obedience.

Romans 8:12-14 – So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Written by Ken Stoller – GCC Elder

Faith like a Child

Posted: February 19, 2014 in Staff & Ministry Leaders

What a blessing it is to share God’s love with our preschool and kindergarten students. Valentine’s Day is always met with sweet love and appreciation as classmate’s exchange Valentine’s with each other. Last week as we prepared for Valentine’s Day, our chapel lesson was on how special and important children are to Jesus. We shared Matthew 19:14 with them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 

Even though our students are young and are just beginning their educational journey, they exhibit what Jesus says we all need to belong to the kingdom of heaven. Children love, trust, are dependant and have faith!

What is it that gets in our way of having childlike faith? Is it pride? Do we try to make coming to faith in Jesus too complicated? Are we influenced by the world?

Just as children trust and love their parents and depend on them to meet their needs, we should look to our heavenly father and listen to what Proverbs 3:5 says, Trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.

We must become like humble children; trusting, depending, loving and having the faith of a child.

We can learn a lot from children! Children are special to Jesus and they are special to us!

Written by Liz Fast – GCP&K Director

Proverbs 4:20-27
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 
Let them not escape from your site; keep them within your heart. 
For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. 
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. 
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 
Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. 

This one is for you guys out there.  I’ve had some men in my life who I admire and respect tell me that they read one chapter in Proverbs each day. It’s their daily devotional. It’s chock-full of wisdom, it’s short, and when you get to the end of the month you simply start over. So this year I’m on my second round of Proverbs, and this time through, something new jumped out at me.

Have you ever been tempted to justify a decision you knew was contrary to Gods will for your life because, frankly, things have been unfair or difficult lately? I certainly have. Life is hard. Life is unfair. It seems as though sometimes we face tough consequences despite making the right decisions. Well, our Father addresses this for us in Proverbs. You know what He says? Keep on keeping on! Don’t listen to that voice that says ,”life is hard and you didn’t deserve that, so it’s okay if you want to ________.” (Fill in the blank with whatever sin appeals to you).

No, God tells us to seek wisdom and to ponder the direction of our footsteps. In other words, don’t just mindlessly move forward. Stop and think about what you’re doing. Make the right decision. Yes, life can be hard and sometimes it seems like we would be justified to make a poor decision. But I think we’ve all seen it many times. Somebody wallowing in self-pity and having a tough life only makes it worse by telling themselves they somehow deserve to give in to temptation and to indulge in the flesh. Frankly, we do deserve what we get (Romans 3:23 and 6:23). A few good decisions don’t mean we deserve a life free of hardship, but I think the wisdom to be found in this part of Proverbs is that it only gets worse if we give up and sabotage ourselves. Lets consider our true circumstances, that God loved us so much He gave us everything we could ever need or want (John 3:16).

And consider Proverbs 4:20-27 today, because who ever made his life better by allowing self-pity to wreck his decisions?  It’s a downward spiral. Besides, God promises us that when we seek Him and ponder our way, it will lead to healing and life.  The reward for being vigilant with our hearts and being committed to Him is worth the trouble we sometimes face!

So stay strong and lift up a brother in prayer and with an encouraging word today!

Written by Mitch Ratzlaff – GCC Elder

During Kids Life Club on Wednesday nights we have been talking  Daniel.  What example of a man to look at as a man following God.

One of our lessons was when King Nebuchadnezzar had his vision of the tree touching the sky. (Daniel 4)  Daniel informs King Nebuchadnezzar that this vision is about how great and strong he has become, his greatness and his dominion extends to distant parts of earth.  The vision said that King Nebuchadnezzar would be driven away from his kingdom and will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven.  Twelve months later  Nebuchadnezzar said “Is this not the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of MY majesty?”  While words were still on his lips all of his royal authority was taken away from him for seven years Nebuchadnezzar, and he ate grass like cattle, grew feathers of an eagle, and his nails were like the claws of a bird.

What is the lesson in this story??

We all have skills, sports, creative skills, leading, encouraging and so on…It is great to be good at something.  But we need to give God the credit for the skill. God created us and gave us those skills!!   We need to remember to give God the credit for our skills, and use them to Glorify Him.

Be careful the minute we start taking credit for our own skills, God will bring us down just like King Nebuchadnezzar.

Written by Charisa Burbank – Children’s Ministry Director


Posted: January 29, 2014 in Pastor Posts

As we continue our mission to Make Disciples, one of the best ways to do this is through utilizing opportunities our culture gives us. One of these upcoming opportunities is Superbowl Sunday. What better way to get Christians rubbing shoulders with non-Christians than during the biggest sports event of the year! Everyone loves Superbowl parties. Whether for the game, the food, the hanging out, or the commercials, there is something for everyone.

Because of that, we are encouraging you to think about Superbowl differently this year. Do not think of it as a game to watch, but as a chance to reach out to that friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker. Get them together with a few of your Christ-follower friends. And then, just hang out! Throw the best party you can, with an intentional mix of Christians and non-Christians, and then let life happen. For more ideas on how to make a Superbowl party into an outreach opportunity, check out this blog post: http://www.vergenetwork.org/2014/01/27/6-very-simple-ways-to-make-your-superbowl-missional/

This year in particular lends itself to spiritual conversations. Many of the Seahawks are solid Christ-followers. In fact, The Resurgence has put out a free video online for you to use. There are clips of the video below. For the full video, use the following link: http://theresurgence.com/2014/01/24/watch-the-resurgence-halftime-show

The pastors and leaders here at GCC are praying for you as you engage in the mission of Worshiping God by Making Disciples.

Written by Pastor Dave

No More Sorrow, No More Pain

Posted: January 28, 2014 in Pastor Posts

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears

There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

But until that day, we’ll hold on to You always”

                                    Jeremy Camp – There Will Be A Day

Being sick the last few days, I experienced head congestion, coughing, fatigue, and muscle aches.  My body literally felt like I just ran a marathon.  And As I lay in bed looking up at the ceiling I began to think about people I have known who are in constant pain.  I once had a friend who had a disc missing from his vertebrae and there is no surgery that can fix it.  He takes pain pill after pain pill all day long.  There was another man, at our past church, who suffered excruciating pain every minute of the day due to chemical exposure in Vietnam.  I remember praying over him as he was weeping, saying he couldn’t go on living like this anymore.  It made me think about how many of us are in pain….physically…emotionally.  Life is hard.  Life is painful.  Sin has tainted God’s perfect creation.  We are now yearning and longing for something more.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

What an amazing picture!  One day, God will wipe away the pain and the sorrow.  We will be with Jesus forever.  That is the hope we have.  In the midst of our trials here on earth, in the midst of our pain and struggles, we can find hope.  As are eyes are fixed on Jesus, as our hearts and minds are set on things above, we can experience joy in the sorrow.  We have a Savior who is going to one day make all things new!

To hear more, check out this link where Jeremy Camp describes his song “There Will Be A Day.”

Written by Pastor Ryan Bucher